I am pretty excited about it. Especially now that I have finally got everything packed! And it did feel rather nice putting my out of office on my email :)
Looks quite benign from this angle. All 6962m of it...
For anyone interested I thought I'd post the day-to-day itinerary:
Feb 1 (Sun): Arrive in Mendoza, hotel
Feb 2 (Mon): Sort Gear and get permit, transport to Pentitentes (2720 meters), hotel
Feb 3 (Tues): Drive to Punta de Vacas, hike 8k to Las Lenas (2700m), easy trail, mules carry baggage (this part I like), camping
Feb 4: Hike 18k to Casa de Piedra (3200m), easy trail, mules carry baggage, camping
Feb 5: Hike 15k to basecamp, "Plaza Argentina" (4200m), steep trail walking, mules carry baggage, camping
Feb 6: Rest in basecamp
Feb 7: Carry loads (what, no mules?) to Camp 1 (5000m), scree and melted ice mixed with rocks, 4-6 hour hike, return to basecamp
Feb 8: Rest day in basecamp
Feb 9: Return to Camp 1
Feb 10: Carry loads to Camp 2 (5900m), scree and melted ice mixed with rocks, 6-7 hour hike, return to Camp 1
Feb 11: Return to Camp 2.
Feb 12: Rest in Camp 2; prepare for summit attempt
Feb 13: Climb Traverse to connect with normal route at Independencia to Summit (6962m), descend via Normal Route and traverse back to Camp 2
Feb 15-16: Extra days allowed for inclement weather/acclimatization, as well as for multiple ascents of the mountain (yeah!)
Feb 17: Descend to basecamp, Plaza Argentina
Feb 18: Descend to Punta de Vacas, transport to Pentitentes
Feb 19 (Thurs): Back to Mendoza
Feb 20 (Fri): Mendoza
Feb 21 (Sat): Fly Mendoza-Santiago-Dallas-Mpls
Good Luck & Be Safe!